The do's and don'ts of first interviews

BY PEYMANEH CHYCHI

As a professional recruiter, I have stood in the shoes of both managers and business owners when considering the type of talent needed for their organization. I have filtered through resumes, phone screened, Skype interviewed and met with thousands of people face-to-face. Yet I have not forgotten the days where I have sat in the same seat as those hopefuls looking to find a great new job. It is with this experience that I can give to you, as I do all the candidates I speak to daily, a few of my favorite tips on the do’s and don’ts when interviewing for a role:  

DO

  • Arrive to your meeting 5-10 minutes early.
  • Bring your A-game to the table. This includes a firm handshake, good eye contact and a strong elevator pitch.
  • Dress to impress - it takes an employer seconds to pass judgment. Be sure to check out samples of what you should wear to an interview, here.
  • Have a mint at all times – you never know how close you’ll be sitting to your interviewer.
  • Be prepared with a hard copy resume, notepad and pen.
  • Research the company and have 3-5 quality questions about them lined up.
  • Be ready to articulate the company’s mission statement or value proposition.
  • Have fun in the interview! * Do some research on the interviewer and get to know the person you’re meeting with. Show the best parts of your personality.
  • Be confident but humble. We look for people that are easy to work with, drama-free and won’t rub anyone (or everyone) the wrong way.
  • Make sure you reiterate why you want the job and ask if the interviewer has any concerns about your background. Take this opportunity to mitigate any concerns that they may have.
  • “May I have your business card?”  Never leave an interview without asking this question. You’ll need this to follow up with a thank you note (no longer than 24 hours) after your meeting.

DO NOT

  • Arrive late to a meeting! If you do, be honest about why – it makes it 10 times worse when you come up with a terrible excuse (and we can always tell when you do)
  • Leave your cell phone on. If you have more important things to do, just leave!
  • Walk into an interview looking to “wing it”. If someone is giving you 10-30 minutes of their time, show some respect by having done research on their company and the opportunity.
  • Show up looking like a slob. Pass on the messy clothes, fashion jewelry, pink heels, cleavage, sweatshirt etc. A good rule of thumb, if you can wear it out on Friday or Saturday night – don’t ever consider it for a professional interview.
  • Overload on perfume or cologne – we don’t want your scent lasting hours after you leave and not to mention, some of us have sensitivity to smell! We would also greatly appreciate if you could refrain from smoking before meeting us.
  • Speak in monotone, no one likes dull and we certainly won’t force you to speak. Bring a high level of energy and enthusiasm!
  • Have a bad attitude, don’t talk about how you hate the weather, how people drive poorly in the city, that your old boss was a jerk and that you’re the best thing since slice bread.
  • LAST: DO NOT lie during your interview. Lies are difficult to manage, speak to poor character and will not only come back to bite you in the rear but could close future opportunities for you.

Every interview is different, from panel interviews to situational, experiential and conversational – remember that your job is to sell yourself! You are the product so know what’s on your resume, your sales metrics and why you’re a great candidate. Have fun and remember that credibility is key!

Happy hunting!